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January 27, 2015

Earlier this week, a letter from the US Department of Agriculture to genetically engineered tree company ArborGen was made public that grants unprecedented powers to ArborGen to pursue commercial cultivation of a GE loblolly pine anywhere in the US with no government or public oversight.

The is the first GE tree legalized in the US, and could be very dangerous if released into the environment. Loblolly pines are native across 14 states throughout the US Southeast, and are grown in plantations around the world. The threat of genetic contamination is severe.

This pine was modified to change its wood density, which could have many dangerous impacts on forest ecosystems. According to biologist Martha Crouch, “These impacts need to be studied and weighed, with ample public input, before allowing a private company to profit from a GE tree that could harm our forests.”

This USDA decision has been called the greatest threat to the environment since the 1990s

To get involved, go to stopgetrees.org.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.